Friday, August 3, 2007

Bonus Books

There was a bonus in my email today: someone had forwarded to me a press release from Bonus Books. Here it is (I adjusted the line breaks in the headline, and blanked out some of the contact information; the contact information is available at the Bonus Books website):




(310) 492-9400




U.S. Publisher Condemns
Cambridge University Press
for Conceding to Destroy Books
and Issue Apology
Jeffrey Stern cites libel "bullying,"
calling decision "outrageous" and "un-American"


AUGUST 3, 2007 (Los Angeles, CA) -- Jeffrey A. Stern, President and Publisher of Los Angeles-based Bonus Books, Inc., is speaking out about this week's decision by Cambridge University Press to destroy all unsold copies of their 2006 book, "Alms for Jihad," by American authors Robert Collins and J. Millard Burr, in response to a libel action brought against them in British courts by Saudi billionaire Khalid Salim A. Bin Mahfouz.  In just one of a series of heavy-handed libel suits against American and British journalists and publishers filed in British courts in recent years, Mahfouz claimed that "Alms for Jihad" wrongly implicates him as having had a significant role in aiding terrorism.


In a similar attempt to halt the distribution of such claims, libel tourist Bin Mahfouz also filed a libel action in British courts against Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, after Bonus Books published her 2003 book "FUNDING EVIL: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It." Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy, also alleged Bin Mahfouz of backing organizations with alleged ties to terrorism, a charge that Mahfouz, formerly president of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, continues to deny.  But Ehrenfeld stands behind her research, and publisher Stern stands by his author.


"I find it utterly appalling that any publisher—let alone one with the history and perceived credibility of Cambridge University Press—would allow themselves to be bullied into making such a decision," Stern said.  "Clearly they must have supported the material before they agreed to a publishing deal with (U.S. authors) Collins and Burr.  It's only now, after being slapped with a suit in the U.K. by the likes of Bin Mahfouz, that they have suddenly decided to concede to demands to pull the book.  What's worse, they have not only agreed to pay damages but they have even gone so far as to issue a formal apology on their website, completely discrediting their authors as having made ‘defamatory allegations’ to which there was 'no truth whatsoever.'”  


"Alms for Jihad" authors Robert O. Collins, a professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and J. Millard Burr, a retired employee of the U.S. State Department, who were not personally named in the libel action, have refused to endorse their publisher's settlement.


"What happened to freedom of the press?" Stern said.  "We're talking about two very credible American writers here.  The very idea that these authors could be silenced in the U.S. by a British court is not only outrageous and fraught with frightening journalistic implications, it's simply un-American."


After several copies of the U.S.-released FUNDING EVIL happened to be purchased online by UK buyers, Bin Mahfouz filed suit against Ehrenfeld in Great Britain, where outdated libel laws still put the burden of proof on the defendant. Ehrenfeld was ordered to pay £114, 386.52 in fines and expenses, publish an apology and physically destroy her books.  Because she is a U.S. citizen who writes and lives in New York City, Ehrenfeld did not acknowledge the British court. Instead, she filed suit in New York, seeking to block enforcement of the judgment, citing it as contrary to the free speech protections that Americans enjoy.   In June, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, finding that Ehrenfeld's claim CAN be brought before a U.S. court.  The decision was hailed by prominent U.S. civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate as one of “the most important First Amendment cases” of the last quarter century.  As a result, every American-based writer and publisher in similar "libel tourism" situations can now seek a U.S. court decision, requesting that a foreign decision not be enforceable in this country.


In a recent Washington Times editorial about the Ehrenfeld case, scholar and Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer noted the release of a September 13, 2001 note from France's foreign intelligence agency, the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security).  He stated that French news site obtained the note in late June, revealing that in 1996, Bin Mahfouz was known to be one of the architects of a banking scheme constructed for the benefit of Osama bin Laden.  The report also claims that both U.S. and British intelligence services had knowledge of this.  “This is just the latest addition to the mountain of evidence from which Miss Ehrenfeld constructed her case in ‘Funding Evil,’” Spencer writes.  “Even if this evidence is all mistaken, the British libel judgment against Ehrenfeld appears all the more fantastic and unjustifiable in light of the fact that French intelligence agents had documents allowing them to come to the same conclusion she did.”


Ehrenfeld, who is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the Committee on the Present Danger (, told the Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday that she finds Cambridge University Press' decision "despicable," and that as she understands it, they "caved immediately."  If and when the New York Court of Appeals decides that there is jurisdiction over Bin Mahfouz, Ehrenfeld's case would proceed on its merits—allowing Ehrenfeld to conduct pre-trial "discovery" of Bin Mahfouz's financial activities to further confirm the accuracy of her claims against him.  


"We commend Rachel Ehrenfeld for being strong-willed on this issue," Stern said.  "Allowing this sort of 'libel tourism' to continue stands to negatively impact every writer and publisher and the U.S.—not to mention the public, who is effectively being forced to fall victim to an insidious and unacceptable form of censorship."









SOURCE:  Bonus Books Inc., Los Angeles, CA  (310) 492-9400


I think that press release is a great summary of Dr. Ehrenfeld's case. The links are nice, too.

Here's what else is funny: Bin Mahfouz has seriously miscalculated.

The money he has spent, instead of silencing his opponents, is getting them publicity that neither they nor their publishers could ever have afforded on their own, or even dreamed of. Collins, Burr and Ehrenfeld are now not only authors; they are heroes of the War on Terror.

Bin Mahfouz's very actions demonstrate that the accusations against him must be true. Bin Mahfouz is not just a terror-financier; Bin Mahfouz is a terrorist. In fact, Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz is The Libel Terrorist, and if he thinks he is going to silence us with his lawsuits, then he's Khalid Salim bin Smokinsumthin. In fact, the more he fights this, the more he comes out on the short end of the deal.

Here's the bargain: Those books might be hard to get now, but somebody will reprint them, because now, those books are required reading for those of us who are serious about not submitting.

Thanks to you, Sheikh bin Mahfouz, those books are on their way to being bestsellers, because obviously they must be hitting pretty close to home.

You should have quit while you were behind, Sheikh bin Mahfouz.

How's about this for a headline:

Saudi Billionaire Loses Pants
Trying to Save Face

Yes, indeed, Sheikh bin Mahfouz... I think you will find that now, these truly are

Bonus Books

Dr. Ehrenfeld's website: American Center for Democracy

Other posts I have done on this:

The Libel Terrorist

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld

Robert Spencer on Dr. Ehrenfeld's Situation

Hat tip to my email tipster.


Debbie said...

Very interesting. This is another attack on anything and anyone NOT Muslim or Islam related.

Even here in Tennessee, a Nashville publisher backed down from publishing a book with anti-Islam content. What are people thinking? They will print ANYTHING else, and I do mean anything. But they are afraid of Muslims. That's what it boils down to.

Thanks for printing this. I will try to share a little at Right Truth and send folks back over here to read it all, later today.

Right Truth

Yankee Doodle said...

Yes and no, Debbie.

People are afraid to publish anything that even delicately suggests shortcomings of Islam, because of what might happen -- the CAIR-bears showing up to protest, the lefties calling them racist, or somebody issuing a fatwa on them.

But, I'm not sure all the polemic around these books is an example of that as much as it shows that they're afraid of being dragged into court by a billionaire. Even though the authors and those who choose to handle these books are right, even though they've done their homework, even though they have free speech laws on their side, they might lose the case anyway.

You have to have the resources to go through the court battle. This Saudi billionaire has high-priced attorneys; most scholarly US authors don't, and many publishers and book handlers don't want to go against someone who does.

Without a doubt, though, Sheikh bin Mahfouz is doing his bit for the caliphate. If there's nothing connecting him to terrorism, why is he suing Dr. Ehrenfeld?

She's a scholar; she's fair, and bases her work in the facts. I agree that in a legal case the accused shouldn't have to prove his innocence, but Dr. Ehrenfeld is not a prosecutor; she's a scholarly author. Why doesn't bin Mahfouz simply cooperate with her research until she herself exonerates him?

Perhaps because she's already found the truth, and the truth ties bin Mahfouz to the deaths of innocents from North America to Southeast Asia?